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'For a year, I have believed you dead, Fitz. For a whole year.'


The Fool awoke from his sleep to find that the steady whisper which had kept him company throughout the night was still echoing about his head. It made him feel drunk; dizzy and lethargic, sick to the pits of his stomach with disbelief. Every morning it became harder for him to arise from his bed, to step outside into the snow and begin a new day free of any purpose.

He hated the snow.

He could not sit back and believe that this was meant to be his destiny, but the morning light that woke him each day gave new breath to the reality of the situation; his catalyst was dead. The hand which pulled the lever, which turned the cogs, which worked the machine. The one who would bring about a new life and time, a one who would truly set the world onto a better path and make a more enjoyable life for all lucky enough to be born into it. It was more than a candle being snuffed out; for even that small flicker of light had a purpose. Without it one less person could see into the darkness, and a little less warmth would wrap their bones.

Now all the Fool could do was sit back and watch the world slip further and further into despair. Perhaps when his lifetime was over another Prophet and another Catalyst would be ressurected, but their job would be beyond any scope by then. They had failed.

To reflect upon the situation only made him feel worse, but The Fool could not escape his own mind. If he attempted to think of nothing while he sat and drank, still the threads of consciousness would filter through. He could not contain them, put up no barrier against them.

He was known as the toy-maker in the Mountain Kingdom now; an illusion. A simple task created to keep his mind and hands active had become a child's fancy. Wooden animals and dolls which had moving limbs, but no wolves, no court jesters, and no royalty did he carve. Nothing which would lead his thoughts astray into dark territory where his hands had other purposes, and his cooking became deadly rather than delicious. It was not unheard of, taking one's own life (just look at the Red Ship Raiders if you wished to find a fine excuse for taking poison upon yourself), but it was not a courageous act, either. The Fool simply wished for a reunion, for destiny to awake and realise his catalyst had been taken from his life mistakenly. For all the fights and swordplay, the Fool had glimpsed many a time when Fitz might die, and they were not it. And had not been, in the end. Had this been something he had not seen, he could perhaps have brushed it off, searched deep inside himself for an answer that would never surface and given himself endless false hope that it was not true.

All life's possibilities torn from him in one grasp. So many dark and evil forces at work, but he had seen the light and the stars, he had believed they could prevail. What a fine joke of the land and sea to create one who could see a better future but never create it. What a jest, to have a Seer who could not act, and a Catalyst who could not see. Was he the only being who understood the gravity of the situation? The stars could scatter, the plants could recede into the earth, the sea could stop crashing against the shore, but they would not have saved themselves. They would be retreating from a land of nothingness. And they would never be able to return.

Fitz had been the key, and he was gone. If the Fool had been a praying person, he would have knelt down to pray weeks ago and never have gotten up since. He had soon realised that was no answer. Not even collapsing into sleep could save them.

The world was grey, turning black at the edges, and he was slowly choking within it, just as every other life was; aware or no. His days were all lived upon a sharpened edge, and though he had no hope, knew there was no hope, some whisper in his ear when he was sleepy told him to stay alive.


The Sun was born, so it shall die,
So only shadows comfort me.
I know in darkness I will find you giving up inside like me.
Each day shall end as it begins
And though you're far away from me
I know in darkness I will find you giving up inside like me

- VNV Nation, Further